Kansas City Royals: Five Keys to Winning Cleveland Series

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Whit Merrifield
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Whit Merrifield /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 24: Mike Minor /

No. 3 Improve Bullpen Management

This would be near the top of the list of keys to the rest of the season for the Kansas City Royals.

Sometimes a manager can make every sensible decision and the players just don’t execute. In those situations, the criticism thrown the manager’s way by fans is often just misguided anger.

One of the most difficult tasks for a manager is picking and choosing how and when to deploy the bullpen. It’s not an easy task, but some managers—read as, Ned Yost—struggle with it more than others.

There are generally two schools of thought in regards to the bullpen.

  1. Trust your guys
  2. Trust the numbers

Both are solid options, but there are times when managers get caught in between. This is when criticism is fair.

It happened on Thursday when Yost replaced Peter Moylan with Minor with the bases empty in the eighth inning and the Kansas City Royals up 2-1. He made the move for reason No. 2. Minor, as a lefty, has a much better track record against left-handed batters.

But after Minor allowed a single and recorded an out, he had to face right-handed hitting Pat Valaika. The numbers would have recommended replacing Minor with a righty or walking Valaika to get to the left-handed hitter behind him.

Yost changed his strategy to No. 1, and Minor let him down. Mistakes like that cannot happen this weekend.